Science studies is an interdisciplinary research area that seeks to situate scientific expertise in broad social and philosophical contexts. It uses various methods to analyze the production and reception of scientific knowledge and its epistemic and semiotic role. To cultural studies, science studies are defined by the subject of their research and encompass a large range of different theoretical and methodological perspectives and practices; the interdisciplinary approach may include and borrow methods from the humanities and formal sciences, from scientometrics to ethnomethodology or cognitive science. Science studies have a certain importance for science policy. Overlapping with the field of science and society, practitioners study the relationship between science and technology, the interaction of expert and lay knowledge in the public realm; the field started with a tendency toward navel-gazing: it was self-conscious in its genesis and applications. From early concerns with scientific discourse, practitioners soon started to deal with the relation of scientific expertise to politics and lay people.
Practical examples include bioethics, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, global warming, biomedical sciences, physical sciences, natural hazard predictions, the impact of the Chernobyl disaster in the UK, generation and review of science policy and risk governance and its historical and geographic contexts. While staying a discipline with multiple metanarratives, the fundamental concern is about the role of the perceived expert in providing governments and local authorities with information from which they can make decisions; the approach poses various important questions about what makes an expert and how experts and their authority are to be distinguished from the lay population and interacts with the values and policy making process in liberal democratic societies. Practitioners examine the forces within and through which scientists investigate specific phenomena such as technological milieus, epistemic instruments and cultures and laboratory life science and technology science and society language and rhetoric of science aesthetics of science and visual culture in science, the role of aesthetic criteria in scientific practice and the relation between emotion and rationality in the development of science.
Semiotic studies of creative processes, as in the discovery, conceptualization, realization of new ideas. Or the interaction and management of different forms of knowledge in cooperative research. Large-scale research and research institutions, e.g. particle colliders research ethics, science policy, the role of the university. Maria Ossowska and Stanislaw Ossowski started to introduce the concept in the 1930s. Thomas Kuhn's Structure of Scientific Revolutions led to an increased interest in not only the history of science, but its philosophical underpinnings. Kuhn's work established that the history of science was less a linear succession of discoveries, but rather the concept of paradigms to the philosophy of science. Paradigms are broader, socio-intellectual constructs that determine which types of truth claims are permissible. Science studies try to identify crucial dichotomies as in science and technology and culture, theories and experiments. Sociology of scientific knowledge developed at the University of Edinburgh, where David Bloor and his colleagues developed what has been termed the'strong programme'.
The strong programme proposed that both'true' and'false' scientific theories should be treated the same way. Both are caused by social conditions, such as cultural context and self-interest. All human knowledge, as something that exists in the human cognition, must contain some social components in its formation process, it proved however difficult to address natural science topics with sociologist methods, as proven by the US science wars. The use of a deconstructive approach on natural sciences risked to endanger not only the "hard facts" of natural sciences, but as well the objectivity and positivist tradition of sociology itself; the view on scientific knowledge production as a social construct was not accepted. Latour and others identified a dichotomy crucial for modernity, the division between nature as being transcendent, allowing to detect them, society as immanent as being artificial, constructed; the dichotomy allowed for a mass production of things and large scale global issues that in the meanwhile threaten endangered the distinction as such.
E.g. We Have Never Been Modern asks to reconnect the social and natural worlds returning to the premodern use of "thing"—addressing objects as hybrids made and scrutinized by the public interaction of people and concepts. Science studies scholars such as Trevor Pinch and Steve Woolgar started in the 1980s to involve "technology", called their field "science and society"; this "turn to technology" brought science studies into communication with academics in science and society programs. More a novel approach known as mapping controversies has been gaining momentum among science studies practitioners, was introduced as a course for students in engineering, architecture
Solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one's own mind is sure to exist. As an epistemological position, solipsism holds that knowledge of anything outside one's own mind is unsure; as a metaphysical position, solipsism goes further to the conclusion that the world and other minds do not exist. This extreme position is claimed to be irrefutable, as the solipsist believes themself to be the only true authority, all others being creations of their own mind. There are varying degrees of solipsism that parallel the varying degrees of skepticism: Metaphysical solipsism is a variety of solipsism. Based on a philosophy of subjective idealism, metaphysical solipsists maintain that the self is the only existing reality and that all other realities, including the external world and other persons, are representations of that self, have no independent existence. There are several versions of metaphysical solipsism, such as Caspar Hare's egocentric presentism, in which other people are conscious, but their experiences are not present.
Epistemological solipsism is the variety of idealism according to which only the directly accessible mental contents of the solipsistic philosopher can be known. The existence of an external world is regarded as an unresolvable question rather than false. Further, one cannot be certain as to what extent the external world exists independently of one's mind. For instance, it may be that a God-like being controls the sensations received by one's brain, making it appear as if there is an external world when most of it is false. However, the point remains. Methodological solipsism is an agnostic variant of solipsism, it exists in opposition to the strict epistemological requirements for "knowledge". It still entertains the points. Methodological solipsism sometimes goes further to say that what we perceive as the brain is part of the external world, for it is only through our senses that we can see or feel the mind. Only the existence of thoughts is known for certain. Methodological solipsists do not intend to conclude that the stronger forms of solipsism are true.
They emphasize that justifications of an external world must be founded on indisputable facts about their own consciousness. The methodological solipsist believes that subjective impressions or innate knowledge are the sole possible or proper starting point for philosophical construction. Methodological solipsism is not held as a belief system, but rather used as a thought experiment to assist skepticism. Denial of material existence, in itself, does not constitute solipsism. A feature of the metaphysical solipsistic worldview is the denial of the existence of other minds. Since personal experiences are private and ineffable, another being's experience can be known only by analogy. Philosophers try to build knowledge on more than an analogy; the failure of Descartes' epistemological enterprise brought to popularity the idea that all certain knowledge may go no further than "I think. The theory of solipsism merits close examination because it relates to three held philosophical presuppositions, each itself fundamental and wide-ranging in importance: My most certain knowledge is the content of my own mind—my thoughts, affects, etc.
There is no conceptual or logically necessary link between mental and physical—between, the occurrence of certain conscious experience or mental states and the'possession' and behavioral dispositions of a'body' of a particular kind. The experience of a given person is private to that person. To expand on point 2 a little further, the conceptual problem here is that the previous assumes mind or consciousness can exist independent of some entity having this capability, i.e. that an attribute of an existent can exist apart from the existent itself. If one admits to the existence of an independent entity having that attribute, the door is open; some people hold that, while it cannot be proven that anything independent of one's mind exists, the point that solipsism makes is irrelevant. This is because, whether the world as we perceive it exists independently or not, we cannot escape this perception, hence it is best to act assuming that the world is independent of our minds. For example, if one committed a crime, one is to be punished, causing potential distress to oneself if the world was not independent of one's mind.
There is the issue of plausibility to consider. If one is the only mind in existence one is maintaining that one's mind alone created all of which one is aware; this includes the symphonies of Beethoven, the works of Shakespeare, all of mathematics and science, etc. Critics of solipsism find this somewhat implausible. However, for example, people are able to construct entire worlds inside their minds while having dreams when asleep, people have had dreams which included things such as music of Beethoven or the works of Shakespeare or math or science in them, solipsists do have coun
Philosophy of technology
The philosophy of technology is a sub-field of philosophy that studies the nature of technology and its social effects. Philosophical discussion of questions relating to technology dates back to the dawn of Western philosophy; the phrase "philosophy of technology" was first used in the late 19th century by German-born philosopher and geographer Ernst Kapp, who published a book titled "Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik". The western term'technology' comes from the Greek term techne and philosophical views on technology can be traced to the roots of Western philosophy. A common theme in the Greek view of techne is. Greek philosophers such as Heraclitus and Democritus endorsed this view. In his Physics, Aristotle agreed that this imitation was the case, but argued that techne can go beyond nature and complete "what nature cannot bring to a finish." Aristotle argued that nature and techne are ontologically distinct because natural things have an inner principle of generation and motion, as well as an inner teleological final cause.
While techne is shaped by an outside cause and an outside telos which shapes it. Natural things reproduce themselves, while techne does not. In Plato's Timaeus, the world is depicted as being the work of a divine craftsman who created the world in accordance with eternal forms as an artisan makes things using blueprints. Moreover, Plato argues in the Laws. During the period of the Roman empire and late antiquity authors produced practical works such as Vitruvius' De Architectura and Agricola's De Re Metallica. Medieval Scholastic philosophy upheld the traditional view of technology as imitation of nature. During the Renaissance, Francis Bacon became one of the first modern authors to reflect on the impact of technology on society. In his utopian work New Atlantis, Bacon put forth an optimistic worldview in which a fictional institution uses natural philosophy and technology to extend man's power over nature - for the betterment of society, through works which improve living conditions; the goal of this fictional foundation is "...the knowledge of causes, secret motions of things.
The native German philosopher and geographer Ernst Kapp, based in Texas, published the fundamental book "Grundlinien einer Philosophie der Technik" in 1877. Kapp was inspired by the philosophy of Hegel and regarded technique as a projection of human organs. In the European context, Kapp is referred to as the founder of the philosophy of technology. Another, more materialistic position on technology which became influential in the 20th-century philosophy of technology was centered on the ideas of Benjamin Franklin and Karl Marx. Five early prominent 20th-century philosophers to directly address the effects of modern technology on humanity were John Dewey, Martin Heidegger, Herbert Marcuse, Günther Anders and Hannah Arendt, they all saw technology as central to modern life, although Heidegger, Anders and Marcuse were more ambivalent and critical than Dewey. The problem for Heidegger was the hidden nature of technology's essence, Gestell or Enframing which posed for humans what he called its greatest danger and thus its greatest possibility.
Heidegger's major work on technology is found in The Question Concerning Technology. Contemporary philosophers with an interest in technology include Jean Baudrillard, Albert Borgmann, Andrew Feenberg, Langdon Winner, Donna Haraway, Avital Ronell, Brian Holmes, Don Ihde, Bruno Latour, Paul Levinson, Ernesto Mayz Vallenilla, Carl Mitcham, Leo Marx, Gilbert Simondon, Lewis Mumford, Jacques Ellul, Bernard Stiegler, Paul Virilio, Günter Ropohl, Nicole C. Karafyllis, Richard Sennett, Álvaro Vieira Pinto and George Grant. While a number of important individual works were published in the second half of the twentieth century, Paul Durbin has identified two books published at the turn of the century as marking the development of the philosophy of technology as an academic subdiscipline with canonical texts; those were Technology and the Good Life, edited by Eric Higgs, Andrew Light, David Strong and American Philosophy of Technology by Hans Achterhuis. Several collected volumes with topics in philosophy of technology have come out over the past decade and the journals Techne: Research in Philosophy and Technology and Philosophy & Technology publish works in philosophy of technology.
Philosophers of technology reflect broadly and work in the area and include interest on diverse topics of geoengineering, internet data and privacy, our understandings of internet cats, technological function and epistemology of technology, computer ethics and its implications, transcendence in space, technological ethics more broadly. Technological determinism is the idea that "features of technology its use and the role of a progressive society was to adapt to technological change." The alternative perspective would be social determinism which looks upon society being at fault for the "development and deployment" of technologies. Lelia Green used recent gun massacres such as the Port Arthur Massacre and the Dunblane Massacre to selectively show technological determinism and social determinism. According to Green, a technology can be thought of as a neutral entity only when the sociocultural co
Philosophy of science
Philosophy of science is a sub-field of philosophy concerned with the foundations and implications of science. The central questions of this study concern what qualifies as science, the reliability of scientific theories, the ultimate purpose of science; this discipline overlaps with metaphysics and epistemology, for example, when it explores the relationship between science and truth. There is no consensus among philosophers about many of the central problems concerned with the philosophy of science, including whether science can reveal the truth about unobservable things and whether scientific reasoning can be justified at all. In addition to these general questions about science as a whole, philosophers of science consider problems that apply to particular sciences; some philosophers of science use contemporary results in science to reach conclusions about philosophy itself. While philosophical thought pertaining to science dates back at least to the time of Aristotle, philosophy of science emerged as a distinct discipline only in the 20th century in the wake of the logical positivism movement, which aimed to formulate criteria for ensuring all philosophical statements' meaningfulness and objectively assessing them.
Thomas Kuhn's 1962 book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions was formative, challenging the view of scientific progress as steady, cumulative acquisition of knowledge based on a fixed method of systematic experimentation and instead arguing that any progress is relative to a "paradigm," the set of questions and practices that define a scientific discipline in a particular historical period. Karl Popper and Charles Sanders Peirce moved on from positivism to establish a modern set of standards for scientific methodology. Subsequently, the coherentist approach to science, in which a theory is validated if it makes sense of observations as part of a coherent whole, became prominent due to W. V. Quine and others; some thinkers such as Stephen Jay Gould seek to ground science in axiomatic assumptions, such as the uniformity of nature. A vocal minority of philosophers, Paul Feyerabend in particular, argue that there is no such thing as the "scientific method", so all approaches to science should be allowed, including explicitly supernatural ones.
Another approach to thinking about science involves studying how knowledge is created from a sociological perspective, an approach represented by scholars like David Bloor and Barry Barnes. A tradition in continental philosophy approaches science from the perspective of a rigorous analysis of human experience. Philosophies of the particular sciences range from questions about the nature of time raised by Einstein's general relativity, to the implications of economics for public policy. A central theme is; that is, can chemistry be reduced to physics, or can sociology be reduced to individual psychology? The general questions of philosophy of science arise with greater specificity in some particular sciences. For instance, the question of the validity of scientific reasoning is seen in a different guise in the foundations of statistics; the question of what counts as science and what should be excluded arises as a life-or-death matter in the philosophy of medicine. Additionally, the philosophies of biology, of psychology, of the social sciences explore whether the scientific studies of human nature can achieve objectivity or are shaped by values and by social relations.
Distinguishing between science and non-science is referred to as the demarcation problem. For example, should psychoanalysis be considered science? How about so-called creation science, the inflationary multiverse hypothesis, or macroeconomics? Karl Popper called this the central question in the philosophy of science. However, no unified account of the problem has won acceptance among philosophers, some regard the problem as unsolvable or uninteresting. Martin Gardner has argued for the use of a Potter Stewart standard for recognizing pseudoscience. Early attempts by the logical positivists grounded science in observation while non-science was non-observational and hence meaningless. Popper argued; that is, every genuinely scientific claim is capable of being proven false, at least in principle. An area of study or speculation that masquerades as science in an attempt to claim a legitimacy that it would not otherwise be able to achieve is referred to as pseudoscience, fringe science, or junk science.
Physicist Richard Feynman coined the term "cargo cult science" for cases in which researchers believe they are doing science because their activities have the outward appearance of it but lack the "kind of utter honesty" that allows their results to be rigorously evaluated. A related question is what counts as a good scientific explanation. In addition to providing predictions about future events, society takes scientific theories to provide explanations for events that occur or have occurred. Philosophers have investigated the criteria by which a scientific theory can be said to have explained a phenomenon, as well as what it means to say a scientific theory has explanatory power. One early and influential theory of scientific explanation is the deductive-nomological model, it says that a successful scientific explanation must deduce the occurrence of the phenomena in question from a scientific law. This view has been subjected to substantial criticism, resulting in several acknowledged counterexamples to the theory.
It is challenging to characterize what is meant by an explanation when the thing to be explained cannot be deduc
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental questions about existence, values, reason and language. Such questions are posed as problems to be studied or resolved; the term was coined by Pythagoras. Philosophical methods include questioning, critical discussion, rational argument, systematic presentation. Classic philosophical questions include: Is it possible to know anything and to prove it? What is most real? Philosophers pose more practical and concrete questions such as: Is there a best way to live? Is it better to be just or unjust? Do humans have free will? "philosophy" encompassed any body of knowledge. From the time of Ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle to the 19th century, "natural philosophy" encompassed astronomy and physics. For example, Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy became classified as a book of physics. In the 19th century, the growth of modern research universities led academic philosophy and other disciplines to professionalize and specialize.
In the modern era, some investigations that were traditionally part of philosophy became separate academic disciplines, including psychology, sociology and economics. Other investigations related to art, politics, or other pursuits remained part of philosophy. For example, is beauty objective or subjective? Are there many scientific methods or just one? Is political utopia a hopeful dream or hopeless fantasy? Major sub-fields of academic philosophy include metaphysics, ethics, political philosophy and philosophy of science. Traditionally, the term "philosophy" referred to any body of knowledge. In this sense, philosophy is related to religion, natural science and politics. Newton's 1687 Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy is classified in the 2000s as a book of physics. In the first part of the first book of his Academics, Cicero introduced the division of philosophy into logic and ethics. Metaphysical philosophy was the study of existence, God, logic and other abstract objects; this division has changed.
Natural philosophy has split into the various natural sciences astronomy, chemistry and cosmology. Moral philosophy still includes value theory. Metaphysical philosophy has birthed formal sciences such as logic and philosophy of science, but still includes epistemology and others. Many philosophical debates that began in ancient times are still debated today. Colin McGinn and others claim. Chalmers and others, by contrast, see progress in philosophy similar to that in science, while Talbot Brewer argued that "progress" is the wrong standard by which to judge philosophical activity. In one general sense, philosophy is associated with wisdom, intellectual culture and a search for knowledge. In that sense, all cultures and literate societies ask philosophical questions such as "how are we to live" and "what is the nature of reality". A broad and impartial conception of philosophy finds a reasoned inquiry into such matters as reality and life in all world civilizations. Western philosophy is the philosophical tradition of the Western world and dates to Pre-Socratic thinkers who were active in Ancient Greece in the 6th century BCE such as Thales and Pythagoras who practiced a "love of wisdom" and were termed physiologoi.
Socrates was a influential philosopher, who insisted that he possessed no wisdom but was a pursuer of wisdom. Western philosophy can be divided into three eras: Ancient, Medieval philosophy, Modern philosophy; the Ancient era was dominated by Greek philosophical schools which arose out of the various pupils of Socrates, such as Plato, who founded the Platonic Academy and his student Aristotle, founding the Peripatetic school, who were both influential in Western tradition. Other traditions include Cynicism, Greek Skepticism and Epicureanism. Important topics covered by the Greeks included metaphysics, the nature of the well-lived life, the possibility of knowledge and the nature of reason. With the rise of the Roman empire, Greek philosophy was increasingly discussed in Latin by Romans such as Cicero and Seneca. Medieval philosophy is the period following the fall of the Western Roman Empire and was dominated by the ris
History of technology
The history of technology is the history of the invention of tools and techniques and is one of the categories of the history of humanity. Technology can refer to methods ranging from as simple as stone tools to the complex genetic engineering and information technology that has emerged since the 1980s; the term technology comes from the Greek word techne, meaning art and craft, the word logos, meaning word and speech. It was first used to describe applied arts, but it is now used to described advancements and changes which affect the environment around us. New knowledge has enabled people to create new things, conversely, many scientific endeavors are made possible by technologies which assist humans in traveling to places they could not reach, by scientific instruments by which we study nature in more detail than our natural senses allow. Since much of technology is applied science, technical history is connected to the history of science. Since technology uses resources, technical history is connected to economic history.
From those resources, technology produces other resources, including technological artifacts used in everyday life. Technological change affects and is affected by, a society's cultural traditions, it is a force for economic growth and a means to develop and project economic, military power and wealth. Many sociologists and anthropologists have created social theories dealing with social and cultural evolution. Some, like Lewis H. Morgan, Leslie White, Gerhard Lenski have declared technological progress to be the primary factor driving the development of human civilization. Morgan's concept of three major stages of social evolution can be divided by technological milestones, such as fire. White argued. For White, "the primary function of culture" is to "harness and control energy." White differentiates between five stages of human development: In the first, people use the energy of their own muscles. In the second, they use the energy of domesticated animals. In the third, they use the energy of plants.
In the fourth, they learn to use the energy of natural resources: coal, gas. In the fifth, they harness nuclear energy. White introduced a formula P=E*T, where E is a measure of energy consumed, T is the measure of the efficiency of technical factors using the energy. In his own words, "culture evolves as the amount of energy harnessed per capita per year is increased, or as the efficiency of the instrumental means of putting the energy to work is increased". Nikolai Kardashev extrapolated his theory, creating the Kardashev scale, which categorizes the energy use of advanced civilizations. Lenski's approach focuses on information; the more information and knowledge a given society has, the more advanced. He identifies four stages of human development, based on advances in the history of communication. In the first stage, information is passed by genes. In the second, when humans gain sentience, they can pass information through experience. In the third, the humans start develop logic. In the fourth, they can develop language and writing.
Advancements in communications technology translate into advancements in the economic system and political system, distribution of wealth, social inequality and other spheres of social life. He differentiates societies based on their level of technology and economy: hunter-gatherer, simple agricultural, advanced agricultural, special. In economics, productivity is a measure of technological progress. Productivity increases. Another indicator of technological progress is the development of new products and services, necessary to offset unemployment that would otherwise result as labor inputs are reduced. In developed countries productivity growth has been slowing since the late 1970s. For example, employment in manufacturing in the United States declined from over 30% in the 1940s to just over 10% 70 years later. Similar changes occurred in other developed countries; this stage is referred to as post-industrial. In the late 1970s sociologists and anthropologists like Alvin Toffler, Daniel Bell and John Naisbitt have approached the theories of post-industrial societies, arguing that the current era of industrial society is coming to an end, services and information are becoming more important than industry and goods.
Some extreme visions of the post-industrial society in fiction, are strikingly similar to the visions of near and post-Singularity societies. The following is a summary of the history of technology by time period and geography: During most of the Paleolithic – the bulk of the Stone Age – all humans had a lifestyle which involved limited tools and few permanent settlements; the first major technologies were tied to survival and food preparation. Stone tools and weapons and clothing were technological developments of major importance during this period. Human ancestors have been using stone and other tools since long before the emergence of Homo sapiens 200,000 years ago; the earliest methods of stone tool making, known as the Oldowan "industry", date back to at least 2.3 million years ago, with the earliest direct evidence of tool usage found in Ethiopia within the Great Rift Valley, dating back to 2.5 million years ago. This era of stone tool use is called the Paleolithic
Positivism is a philosophical theory stating that certain knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations. Thus, information derived from sensory experience, interpreted through reason and logic, forms the exclusive source of all certain knowledge. Positivism holds. Verified data received from the senses are known as empirical evidence. Positivism holds that society, like the physical world, operates according to general laws. Introspective and intuitive knowledge is rejected, as are metaphysics and theology because metaphysical and theological claims cannot be verified by sense experience. Although the positivist approach has been a recurrent theme in the history of western thought, the modern approach was formulated by the philosopher Auguste Comte in the early 19th century. Comte argued that, much as the physical world operates according to gravity and other absolute laws, so does society, further developed positivism into a Religion of Humanity; the English noun positivism was re-imported in the 19th century from the French word positivisme, derived from positif in its philosophical sense of'imposed on the mind by experience'.
The corresponding adjective has been used in a similar sense to discuss law since the time of Chaucer. Positivism is part of a more general ancient quarrel between philosophy and poetry, notably laid out by Plato and reformulated as a quarrel between the sciences and the humanities, Plato elaborates a critique of poetry from the point of view of philosophy in his dialogues Phaedrus 245a, Symposium 209a, Republic 398a, Laws 817 b-d and Ion. Wilhelm Dilthey popularized the distinction between Geisteswissenschaft and Naturwissenschaften; the consideration that laws in physics may not be absolute but relative, and, if so, this might be more true of social sciences, was stated, in different terms, by G. B. Vico in 1725. Vico, in contrast to the positivist movement, asserted the superiority of the science of the human mind, on the grounds that natural sciences tell us nothing about the inward aspects of things. Positivism asserts that all authentic knowledge allows verification and that all authentic knowledge assumes that the only valid knowledge is scientific.
Thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon, Pierre-Simon Laplace and Auguste Comte believed the scientific method, the circular dependence of theory and observation, must replace metaphysics in the history of thought. Émile Durkheim reformulated sociological positivism as a foundation of social research. Wilhelm Dilthey, in contrast, fought strenuously against the assumption that only explanations derived from science are valid, he reprised the argument found in Vico, that scientific explanations do not reach the inner nature of phenomena and it is humanistic knowledge that gives us insight into thoughts and desires. Dilthey was in part influenced by the historicism of Leopold von Ranke. At the turn of the 20th century the first wave of German sociologists, including Max Weber and Georg Simmel, rejected the doctrine, thus founding the antipositivist tradition in sociology. Antipositivists and critical theorists have associated positivism with "scientism". In his career, German theoretical physicist Werner Heisenberg, Nobel laureate for pioneering work in quantum mechanics, distanced himself from positivism by saying: The positivists have a simple solution: the world must be divided into that which we can say and the rest, which we had better pass over in silence.
But can any one conceive of a more pointless philosophy, seeing that what we can say amounts to next to nothing? If we omitted all, unclear we would be left with uninteresting and trivial tautologies. In the early 20th century, logical positivism—a descendant of Comte's basic thesis but an independent movement—sprang up in Vienna and grew to become one of the dominant schools in Anglo-American philosophy and the analytic tradition. Logical positivists rejected metaphysical speculation and attempted to reduce statements and propositions to pure logic. Strong critiques of this approach by philosophers such as Karl Popper, Willard Van Orman Quine and Thomas Kuhn have been influential, led to the development of postpositivism. In historiography the debate on positivism has been characterized by the quarrel between positivism and historicism. Arguments against positivist approaches in historiography include that history differs from sciences like physics and ethology in subject matter and method.
That much of what history studies is nonquantifiable, therefore to quantify is to lose in precision. Experimental methods and mathematical models do not apply to history, it is not possible to formulate general laws in history. Positivism in the social sciences is characterized by quantitative approaches and the proposition of quasi-absolute laws. A significant exception to this trend is represented by cultural anthropology, which tends toward qualitative approaches. In psychology the positivist movement was influential in the development of operationalism; the 1927 philosophy of science book The Logic of Modern Physics in particular, intended for physicists, coined the term operational definition, which went on to dominate psychological method for the whole century. In economics, practising researc